Roisin Gorman

Primary Teacher

Carbrain Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

The Use of Traffic Lights in the Classroom


Self-assessment is an important aspect of assessment is for learning practice. Self-assessment  “is the involvement of students in identifying standards and/ or criteria to apply to their work, and making judgments about the extent to which they have met these criteria and standards… it means more than students grading their own work; it means involving them in the process of determining what is ‘good work’ (Boud, 1995).

The Assessment Reform Group (2002) states 10 guiding principles to implement formative assessment. One principle outlines that using formative assessment develops pupils’ capacity for self-assessment. Arguably, self-assessment allows the children to take responsibility for their own learning. Upon using self-assessment, the pupils are encouraged to reflect on their learning against a success criterion within the classroom

With this in mind and a personal interest to explore different self-assessment strategies, the purpose of this enquiry is to allow pupils to self-assess their work, based on a checklist, with the goal of pupils becoming more independent learners and taking ownership over their own learning. The Assessment is for Learning framework issued by Education Scotland (2005) backs this up and highlights the importance of assessment in the classroom with the idea of promoting positive change which can in turn improve the life chances of pupils.


The aim of this enquiry was to introduce a self-assessment tool to measure the impact of self-assessment on pupil progress and pupils identifying their next steps in their learning as ‘Hattie and Timperley (2007) state that self-assessment should help students answer questions such as Where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?’ The class was introduced to the enquiry during a maths lesson as pupils struggled to identify their next steps and pupils were not as independent in this area of the curriculum. By introducing a self-assessment, in the form of a traffic light checklist, it was hoped that pupils would become more independent learners and take more ownership with their own learning.

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